Hong Kong stocks rose, halting a two-day slide as Alibaba Group Holding surged after SoftBank Group rejected reports it could be planning to cut its stake. Electric-car maker and Tesla challenger Xpeng jumped after its Stock Connect inclusion. The Hang Seng Index advanced 2.1 per cent to 24,829.99 at the close of Wednesday trading. The Tech Index strengthened 3.7 per cent, the most in almost three weeks, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8 per cent. Alibaba, the owner of this newspaper, jumped 6.8 per cent to HK$118.80, the most in five weeks. SoftBank Group, which owns about a quarter of the company, rejected reports it could be preparing to sell its stake in the Chinese e-commerce group. The stock had lost more than 7 per cent in value this week after the Hangzhou-based company filed on February 4 to register 1 billion new American depositary shares, prompting analysts to speculate about SoftBank’s potential sale. Alibaba holds a big sway on the local market as the stock carries more than 7 per cent weight in the benchmark and tech index. “SoftBank’s clarification eased some market concerns,” said Mark Po, analyst at China Galaxy International Securities. “As a whole, the rebound might only be slight now but we may see some policy direction changing” to bring more impact to the market, he added. Xpeng surged 8 per cent to HK$152.50, having soared to a record of 11.5 per cent earlier. The Shenzhen Stock Exchange included the Guangzhou-based EV maker into the southbound leg of the Stock Connect , giving access to mainland Chinese investors to trade in its Hong Kong-listed shares from February 9. Like the Tesla stock rally? With Stock Connect, Chinese investors may get a shot at 51 per cent upside in challengers Xpeng and Li Auto Other tech bellwethers also rose. Meituan added 3.7 per cent, Tencent gained 2.7 per cent while NetEase and JD.com appreciated by at least 4.3 per cent. China reiterated its stance on the role of private capital in the economy. Efforts to prevent the disorderly expansion of capital have seen initial results , and the order of market competition is improving, the state-run People’s Daily said in a commentary. WuXi Biologics failed to sustain a rebound. It fell 1 per cent to HK$61.60 after rising as much as 9.2 per cent. The stock was halted on Tuesday after a sell-off triggered by the US decision to put the company and 32 others under a “red-flag” list. Meanwhile, Hong Kong is expected to see its daily Covid-19 cases soaring to a record of 1,161 on Wednesday and its toughest social distancing measures set to take effect on Thursday. On the mainland, Asiainfo Security Technologies jumped 28 per cent on its first day of trading. Markets in the Asian Pacific region rose. The Nikkei 225 in Japan strengthened 1.1 per cent while Australian and Korean stocks rose at least 0.8 per cent.